In the aftermath of Portugal’s surprise 2-1 defeat to South Korea in their final Group Stage game at Qatar 2022, much attention has been focused on a heated exchange between Cristiano Ronaldo and Korean substitute player Cho Gue-sung.
According to Fernando Santos, Ronaldo was “insulted” by Cho and put his finger to his mouth, signaling him to stop talking. This reaction from Ronaldo has since caused controversy in the media, with some people labeling it as disrespectful toward South Korea.
Cristiano Ronaldo was apparently “insulted” by a South Korean player during his substitution off in Tuesday’s 65th minute of their match. Portugal coach Fernando Santos said this altercation made Ronaldo look unhappy when he left the pitch.
In reality, it’s more likely that Ronaldo was disappointed with the 2-1 defeat, which eliminated Portugal from the World Cup and sent South Korea into the last 16 instead.
“The player from Korea was insulting him telling him to go away, so that is the reason why he was angry, everyone saw that,” said Santos.
“I saw the interaction with the Korea player and I don’t have any doubts about it and if you see the images you see Pepe went towards the Korea player.
“He was not aggressive, he was only verbally aggressive, he was speaking in English to Cristiano, and Cristiano said, ‘Perhaps he had a bad day.”
After the game, Ronaldo claimed to Portuguese media that Cho was attempting to rush him off the field.
“What happened was before my substitution, the South Korea player told me to get off quickly. I told him to shut up as he doesn’t have that authority. There was no disagreement [with the coach].” Ronaldo said.
Hwang In-Beom, a midfielder for South Korea, didn’t say anything about the event.
“I didn’t see it, I was too tired,” he said. “I was looking at the ground, so I didn’t see it and I have nothing to say.”
Despite allowing South Korea to defeat Uruguay for a spot in the knockout rounds with a goal from Hwang Hee-chan in the 91st minute, Portugal nevertheless won Group H.
Santos emphasized that the loss to South Korea should serve as a “warning” to his team, who will play the second-place team from Group H, likely Switzerland, Serbia, or Cameroon.
“We are somewhat upset,” Santos added.
“We are first in the group, but we wanted to win and have a better game to increase the morale of the players. But this result serves as a warning to our team.”
The FIFA World Cup is a global tournament that occurs every four years. The purpose of the competition is to crown the best soccer team in the world. This year’s event is held in Qatar, and 32 teams compete for the title.
One of these teams is Portugal, which has had a rocky start to the tournament. After qualifying for the second round for the first time since 2010, South Korea will take on Brazil in the meantime.
Before Hwang’s stunning winner, they were destined to leave the World Cup. However, Uruguay, which defeated Ghana 2-0 but was eliminated from the tournament, passed them on goals scored.